Pt. Madhan Mohan Malaviya: One man many voices



The Early  years of Malaviya:

” I do not consider anybody as a greater patriot than Malaviyaji; I always worship him. There is no one in sight amongst all living Indians who has rendered more services to India than him.” The words of Mahatma Gandhi show the kind of influence Malaviya ji had on his contemporaries. He was someone who loved his country and worshipped his religion beyond comparison.

Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya was born on 25th December 1861 at Prayag in a family of Sanskrit Scholar. His father, Pt.  Baijnath, was a very popular storyteller (Kathavachak).  The boy had a dream of becoming a kathavachak but the acute poverty and his mother’s wish took him to the government service.

After completing his graduation from Calcutta University he joined as a teacher. Pt. Malviya passed LLB course in 1891 and started practice in the District Court in 1891 and then in the High Court from 1893.  Sir Mirza Ismail once said, “I have heard a great lawyer say that if  Pt. Malaviya had so willed it, he would have been an ornament to the legal progression.”  On his fiftieth birthday, he gave up legal profession and decided to serve the country. Gopal Krishna Gokhale a freedom fighter and a great visionary said “ Malaviyaji’s sacrifice is a real one. Born in a poor family, he started earning thousands but he left all the luxury and embraced a simple living again.”

Malaviya’s Dharma:  Mahamana Malviya has been conferred Bharat Ratna by the present government. He was a Sanatani and firm believer of Hindu sanskriti and culture. He was the main person to establish Bharat Dharm Mahamandal in 1887. The organization promoted education based on the old Hindu texts and rituals. Gandhi ji, who was a great fan of Malaviyaji’s kathavachak skills once, said that “Today I see that the Bhagavat is a book which can evoke religious fervor. But when I heard portions of the original read by Pandit ji during my twenty-one days fast, I wished that I had heard it in my childhood from such a devotee as he is, so that I could have formed a liking for it at an early age. The impression formed at that age strikes roots deep down into one’s nature.”

The Congress party of early twentieth century was full of leaders who have drawn strength from Sanatan Dharma. Be it Gandhi, Malaviya, Nehru, Annie Besant all had great faith and firm belief in Sanatan way of living. At times Malaviya ji was criticized by some people for his hardliner Hindu philosophy but nothing could deter him following it.

Malaviya ji had formed Pragya Hindu Samaj in 1880. The Samaj aimed at training Hindus for the protection of their faith and resist the attacks from several quarters. The Samaj was criticized for its hard-line approach but Pt. Madanmhan continued its activities and trained many to revive the rituals of Hindu Dharma. In 1932, Malaviyaji, while defending his association with Pragya said” Friendship could exist between two equals. If the Hindus made themselves strong and the rowdy section among a community were convinced they could not safely rob and dishonor Hindus, unity would be established on a stable basis.

Malaviya’s view can be seen in the light of the conditions prevailing during early nineteenth century. He had a firm belief that a strong Hindu community would pave the way for a strong and a stable India.  Madan Mohan Malviya supported and opposed British Government policies and programs with respect to the things mentioned in old Hindu scriptures. He never accepted anything against Sanatan Sanskriti. He followed Dayanand and Arya Samaj to safeguard Hindu interest. His love for Hindi and Hindu made him fight the case in the court to declare Hindi as Lingua Franca of India. The case was presented before (Lord) Sir McDonnell who listened to arguments of Malaviya ji in favour of Hindi and issued the ordinance of 1900, making Hindi equal to Urdu in the Law-courts of North-Western, later the United Provinces.

Malviya: an Educationist

Madan Mohan Malviya created history in the Indian Education System as he established Banaras Hindu University in Kashi.(Varanasi) He selected Varanasi as the place for BHU because of its centuries-old tradition of learning and centre of spirituality. He visualized a university with best of infrastructure facility and top brains meeting under one umbrella. His vision took shape in the twenty-first meeting of Indian National Congress in Banaras where he announced his willingness to establish a world-class university in Varanasi.

He was aware of the prevailing poverty in Indian and illiteracy among all the sections of the society. He knew that the millions of Indian living under acute poverty can only get rid of it by use of science and technology.

Making of the Banaras Hindu University

Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya was greatly inspired by Dr. Annie Besant, an Irish lady, who came to India with the motive of spreading Educational Programmes. She started Central Hindu College at Kamachha in the city of Varanasi in 1889, which became the nexus of the Banaras Hindu University later on. Pandit ji, with help of the then Maharaja of Banaras, Sri Prabhu Narain Singh ji, proposed to establish the University named the Banaras Hindu University in 1904. In the year 1905, this proposal got the sanction of several Hindu organizations. On 31st Dec. 1905, in the Town Hall of Varanasi, under the chairmanship of Sri D. N. Mahajan, the proposal was finally approved. In 1911, in the association of Dr. Annie Besant, a resolution was passed to establish “Kashi Vishva Vidyalaya”, and on 28 Nov. 1911, a society was formed to begin the work for the Banaras Hindu University.

On March 25, 1915, Sir Hurcourt Butler proposed a bill in the Imperial legislation Council for the establishment of the University. On Oct. 01, 1915, the B.H.U. Act was passed. On Feb. 4th, 1916, i.e. Magh Shukla Pratipada, samvat 1972, the foundation of the Banaras Hindu University was laid down. A grand ceremony was organized to celebrate the occasion in which several eminent personalities of India were present.Great minds and personalities like Annie Besant, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Shyama Charan De and many others joined hand with him in his quest for knowledge, arousing the national spirit in India and winning freedom with the power of education and righteousness (Press Information Bureau, 2014).

Malviya ji as a Journalist:

Journalism is for the people who wish to spread the light of wisdom to many for establishing a just and equal society. Where everyone is well informed and actively participating in the decision-making process. Malviya ji while stressing the need of newspapers once said that”  Daily newspapers are not merely for bringing the opinions which are consumed by educated class but also guide them and build public opinion.

Malviya ji started his career as a journalist in 1880. He was editor of many Hindi and English. The most important one is Hindosthan where he accepted the offer of Raja Rampal Singh to work as an editor. His articles in Hindosthan became very popular. His earlier articles mainly poems were published in Harishchandra Chandrika edited by one of the legends of Hindi Journalism Bhartendu Harischandra.

Pt. Malaviya’s work on religious and contemporary subjects published in Hindi Pradeep. One incident during his editorship of Hindosthan Newspaper shows the character and strength of Malaviya ji personality. When he joined Hindosthan he told Raja Kalakankar that he would not tolerate interference in his editorial and other policy decisions of the newspaper. Raja agreed and gave full freedom to Pandit ji. But one day under the influence of wine Raja Rampal stopped Malviya ji on the busy streets and argued something. The very next day Pandit ji resigned from his post. When Raja came out of the influence of wine he regretted the incident and requested Malviya ji to join the paper again. But Malaviya was a man of virtues. He refused the offer and quit the organization. It shows the characteristics strengths of Malaviya ji. How many of us would take such strong decisions to leave a job when we require it the most.

Malviya ji started a Hindi daily Abhudaya in 1907 under his Editorial control. He started an English daily, The Leader, with the support of Pt. Motilal Nehru. He was associated with ‘Leader ‘ as Editor from 1909 – 1911 and as the President 1911-1919.

A magazine Sanatan Dharma started in 1933 by Banaras Hindu University. The content of this magazine was full of Hindu darshan and scriptures.

Malaviya as a Global Thinker:

The concept of globalization from the vision of Madan Mohan Malaviya could be seen in the following version “And the creator and benefactor of the world, the universal soul moving in all, brought together his all children of the east and the west, and induced their mind to that unanimity which meanest good and right understanding directed them to raise this home of universal learning in the capital town of the lord of universe”, (printed in copper plate, 1916, BHU) again Malaviya pray was “May Saraswati , inearned in the shurti-heart of wisdom, ever bloom and shine with worship from her human children ,may they ever assiduously imbibe the vital milk of knowledge flowing from her sweet breast of science and philosophy :may all hearts turns to act as good alone :may all hearts be filled with love of supreme.” (Printed in copper plate 1916 BHU), this showcases the globalized vision and thought of Malaviyaji.